Africa will be Great again: A Transformational Generation of Leaders
What comes to mind whenever the word Africa is mentioned? Is it a place with a different geographical location? Is it a place with only one country with different people, or is it a place with other countries and unquestionably different cultures? Everything that comes to mind relatively is true to you, but what African refer to as Africa? For many years, I knew Africa as a place where people with black/dark skin reside. A place where we, the white race was superior to them but later did I realize that Africa is more than a continent of dark skin people, more than a geographical location. It is a place where the world’s resources largely depend on; it is a place that won her liberation from the whites; it is a candle of humanity and a tree of life to the world.
Over the years, Africa has been evolving in education, health, agriculture, and leadership. Africa has had three different types of leaders who have either destroyed, built, redesign, or improved Africa. This group of leaders was put into categories by Fred Swaniker, the African Leadership University founder ( a leading institution in developing African leaders). The first generational leaders were in the 50s and 60s, who had the face of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and others. And this group of leaders brought independence to most African countries. Generation two leaders are the ones who brought nothing to Africa but despoliation. Corruption increases, human rights abuses amongst others. The second generation of leaders had Mobuto Sese Seko and Sani Abacha. The third generation of leaders is Nelson Mandela or Paul Kagame, who has helped to clears generation two leaders’ mess. And now we have a new generation of leaders who will be referred to as generation four leaders. A group of leaders will need to create wealth, prosperity and design or build strong institutions to sustain what generation three have done. And this group of generational leaders will be called the transformational generation leaders who will be the hope of Africa being great.
Africa is great
People often say Africa will be great, but I firmly believe Africa is excellent now and is just waiting for the right timing to manifest its greatness. Using the word WILL means you don’t have what you wish for, and you are hoping for it, but Africa already has a group of people who can change Africa.
In Botswana, you have 86.82% of the adult population being educated (“Botswana Adult literacy rate, 1960-2020 – knoema.com”, 2021). A country that is educated has growth potential, and Botswana’s high literacy rate shows that it already has what it takes to make the country better than what it is now. Botswana is also one of the most developed and stable economic countries in Africa. It has a GDP of 67.6 billion USD. This means Botswana does not have the potential to develop but is already experiencing development. With such a high literacy rate and GDP, it gives hope to Africa that it’s time to step into the era of prosperity that is not far but very soon. And this means the fourth generation of leaders will soon be the leading force in driving and maintaining Botswana’s current growth and development.
Rwanda is amongst the most developed countries in Africa with a GDP of 9.1% and is recorded among the top 30 countries doing business with the World bank. Rwanda, a landlocked country yet can reach among the top 30 countries not just in Africa but also in the world, shows that its growth potential is unendurable. It is also known as the clearness city in Africa. In 2018, it had 70.0% of tertiary education enrollment in the country (State of Gender Equality in Rwanda, 2021). This shows that by 2030 when the four generations of leaders take over, you will have a well-developed country than what it is now.
Recently Tanzania lost its president John Magufuli who under his reign Tanzania was known as one of the fastest-growing economies in East Africa and Africa as a continent(“Tanzania among Africa’s fastest-growing economies,” 2021). And recently may another history of making the first-ever East Africa female president who was vice president too late John Magufuli.
All these facts point out one thing. The world will not deny the rise of a great Africa whose manifestation in growth.
The Cheetahs and Hippos Generation
I guess when you saw the word Cheetahs and Hippos, the first thing that came to mind was animals. And it is beautiful, but in this context, it has been used for the two different generations of youth leaders in the 20s and 21st century. Suppose you have seen cheetahs, you know one character of it being the fastest land animal. This means it goes ahead of others because of its speed. Hippos is the short name of a hippopotamus. One common thing a hippo is known for is being underwater(“what a hippopotamus is known for – Google Search,” 2021), although it can survive on land. Now that you know these animals’ characteristics let’s see how it applies to the 20s and 21st generation of leaders.
I enjoy the way George Ayittey talks of these two words in his TED talks in 2007. According to him, the cheetah’s generation is a new breed of African who understand the need for accountability and democracy, who don’t associate with corruption. They don’t wait for the government to do things for them and that Africa restoration depends on the cheetah’s generation. The Hippos generation is the ruling elite who are stuck in their intellectual patch. Complaint of colonialism and imperialism without moving one foot. If they were to ask them to reform the economy, they would not change anything from the status quo.
And I know you think that the Hippos generation is still very active amongst the young people in the 21st generation and yes, very accurate. But that should not be your thought; instead, you should be thinking about how can these Hippos generation be completely removed amongst the Cheetah generation. Well, I tell you for free, it is impossible to remove the Hippos generation from the cheetahs, but they can be minimized. A few minutes ago, you read about three different countries’ growth and the third generation of leaders who are clearing the mess of the second generation of leaders, indicating that the cheetah can minimize the Hippos in the fourth generation of leaders in Africa.
How can this happen when the fourth generation of leaders’ focus should be building vital institutions and prosperity?
There could be one way, and these one-ways included
Bottom-top leadership: this is where youth are taught practical leadership from an early stage before occupying the position. The could be done in the form of mentorship. All young people in school have mentors who can teach them, but at the same time, they can look up to for guidance. A bottom-top approach will eradicate young people’s spirit sitting and doing nothing about what’s going on around them. Because they will have someone guiding them on what to do instead of complaining.
With this approach, the young people who might have been potential Hippos leaders will not have time to complain instead of finding solutions to their problems.
And this is why I firmly believe Africa is excellent and has a transformational leader raised in the four-generation of leadership to build solid institutions and create prosperity. Also, because of the mindset of the cheetah’s generation of leaders who take the lead, find a solution to fit in the African context, and are ready to take over after the third generation of leaders. To sustain what they have clean up from the second generation of Africa leaders—setting Africa at a place of being great again.
(2021). [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcEIsbO0ivA
Botswana Adult literacy rate, 1960-2020 – knoema.com. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://knoema.com/atlas/Botswana/Adult-literacy-rate#:~:text=In%202013%2C%20adult%20literacy%20rate,average%20annual%20rate%20of%2012.66%25.
what a hippopotamus is know for – Google Search. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.google.com/search?q=what+a+hippopotamus+is+know+for&oq=what+a+hippopotamus+is+know+for&aqs=chrome..69i57j46j0i22i30l7j69i64.13566j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Tanzania among Africa’s fastest-growing economies. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/variety-influences-vast-and-historically-significant-tanzania-one-africa%E2%80%99s-fastest-growing-economies
State of Gender Equality in Rwanda. (2021). [Ebook]. Retrieved from http://gmo.gov.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/Researches%20and%20Assessments/State%20of%20Gender%20Equality%20in%20Rwanda.pdf
(2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.africanexponent.com/post/7014-10-most-developed-countries-in-africa-2020